|Speech by H.E. Ambassador LIU Xinsheng on "Chinese Dream"|
The Chinese Dream We Dream
H.E. Ambassador Liu Xinsheng
20 June 2013
I am delighted to see my friends, old and new, joining us at this reception. Some have been committed to strengthening this bilateral relationship for years, and some are about to start their own explorations in the country I represent pretty soon. All of you may share a strong interest in China, your longstanding and trustworthy friend at the other end of the Asian continent. Then what is China in your mind? Different people may come up with different answers.
Many people in this part of the world began to know China through The Travels of Marco Polo, a 13th-century travelogue by Marco Polo, an Italian man describing his travels through China, Persia and other Asian countries. The book triggered the interest of many Europeans to learn more about China. 700 years on, what does China look like today?
Before you set out on your own seeing-is-believing Marco Polo journey to China, I would like to share with you my understanding of the country and the Chinese dream my fellow countrymen dream and pursue. I hope it will only serve as a good starter on your rich and fascinating menu of the China trip.
Ⅰ.China As It Is
China is the third largest country in the world covering an area of 9,600,000 sq km (approximately the size of Europe as a whole). China has a population of around 1.35 billion (400 million more than the population of Europe and the United States combined). Its long history, brilliant civilizations and beautiful scenery have made it a dream destination for many travellers around the world.
Like Cyprus, China has a long and rich history. The earliest traces of human beings in the country could date back to 1.7 million years ago. The first emperor, Qinshihuang, completed the first national unification or Chinese integration more than 2,000 years ago when Hannibal led his troops across the Alps to fight the Romans.
Dynasties came and went, so did the emperors. Coming into the 19th century, the once-proud agricultural central kingdom was not immune to the invasion, humiliation and manipulation of the industrialized West. When Europeans were preparing for World War I, the very last monarch of China was brought down by the 1911 revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
The end of emperors did not immediately bring an end to the untold sufferings of the people. Civil wars, foreign aggression, manmade and natural disasters ravaged the country. It was not until October 1st, 1949, when the People's Republic of China was founded, that the destiny of China and the Chinese nation had turned for the better in Modern history. I would also see it as a predestiny that China's national day, October 1st, coincides with the national day of our great friend and partner Cyprus.
Since then, in spite of the ups and downs, China has set out on a path of independent and strong growth. China is now the second largest economy in the world. Whatever the challenges, it still has the highest growth rate among major economies, averaging 10% over the past 30 years and topping 7.5% in the first quarter of this year. China is also the largest exporter and second largest importer of goods in the world.
China is also proud of her brilliant civilization. Among her greatest gifts to the world are the "four great inventions" ( paper, gunpowder, printing and the compass). Chinese arts and crafts, including painting, calligraphy, operas, embroidery and silk are distinctive and unique. Martial arts (Kungfu), which have begun to enjoy popularity in other parts of the world have been part of Chinese culture for centuries, and Chinese literature testifies to the country's rich heritage. And, of course, there is Chinese cuisine, which has been exported to every corner of the globe.
There are 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities, and 2 Special Administrative Regions in China. Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an are among the dream destinations for tourists. Beijing is well-known for its mixture of traditional and modern cultures. The Great Wall and the Forbidden City are places that you don't want to miss. Shanghai is China's largest metropolis. It is where the East meets the West. Suzhou is widely recognized for its very Chinese river towns, and delicate traditional bridges and gardens. Leisure life, delicious spicy snacks and giant panda are the hallmarks of Chengdu. Xi'an served as capital for 12 dynasties over 1,000 years. The world famous Terracotta Army is in Xi'an.
These are just a few must-go recommendations and more wonders wait for your exploration. What I can assure you is that the more you see, the more you want to see.
Ⅱ. The Chinese Dream We Dream
In the past 170 years and more since China's humiliating defeat in the Opium War, my fellow countrymen have dreamed many dreams. When China was to be dismembered by the external powers, we had dreamed of an independent country in which we would be masters of our own house. When the Chinese nation was ravaged by war and chaos, we had dreamed of a peaceful and stable country in which our men and women would only compete in sports field rather than fight in battlefield. When the Chinese people were starving to death, we had dreamed of a country of abundance in which everyone could have three meals a day. Even in the darkest years of our Modern history, we did not give it up. We dared to dream the impossible and we dared to reach for the impossible. Thanks to the bold dreams and unyielding efforts of one generation after another, we have come a long way and get to where we are now. Those dreams have all come true.
What's next? Where is China heading? What will China look like in the next 10 years or 40 years? What is the Chinese dream in the 21st century? Though these are topical questions in the international media, I would venture to say that the Chinese people are most concerned about the questions and answers.
Much has been achieved and much more needs to be done. We have never been closer to our goal of national renewal. But the final sprint may prove to be the most difficult and challenging part of the race. We face opportunities and challenges as never seen before. There is a lot that we should do and we can do. That's where the Chinese dream comes up again. It represents the genuine wishes of the people and goals of the nation. As the new Chinese President, Mr. Xi Jinping, put it: the great renewal of the Chinese nation is the greatest Chinese dream in our Modern history.
1. What is this dream exactly?
All being said about this dream, it all boils down to building a prosperous China and ensuring better lives for the Chinese people.
There are two specific goals set out in the Report of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
Building towards the two goals, China will eventually achieve the great renewal of the Chinese nation. This is the "three-step" strategy for fulfilling the Chinese Dream.
2. The "Chinese Dream" is the dream of the Chinese nation and the dream of every individual Chinese.
When the nest is overturned, no egg will stay intact. We learnt our lessons the hard way in our Modern history. The individual well-being is directly tied to the rise or fall of a nation. President Xi embraced the spirit of the "Chinese Dream" when he said,"Only when the country and the nation are better off, can every one of us be better off." He furthered his remarks by emphasizing that the dream is of the people and for the people. It is a dream of everyone for the country and the country for everyone.
Simply put, "Empty talk makes a country suffer, while solid work makes a country prosper". This is a remark made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which has been very well received and endorsed by the Chinese people. We need to talk the talk and walk the walk.
4. What will be the focuses?
China has already grown big. We want to put its growth on a strong, sound and sustainable basis. That's why in pursuing the Chinese dream, we want to make greater progress in economic, political, cultural, social and environmental fields, known as the five major development focuses.
We will transform our economic growth model. We want to boost our economy by investment, consumption and exports in a more balanced manner and we want to sharpen the competitive edges of Chinese businesses. People are benefiting a great deal from things Made-in-China. Going forward, you will get to enjoy products and services designed-in-China, created-in-China and patented-in-China.
We will continue to strengthen the socialist democracy. The rule of law, the leadership of the Communist Party and the people being masters of their own house are the three principles we follow in this regard. We want to ensure fairness and justice in our society, so that everyone can truly benefit from and contribute to a more prosperous China.
We will promote cultural progress. We will continue to draw upon the strength of other cultures like that of Cyprus, and we will do more to introduce the Chinese culture to our friends overseas. Such exchanges will leave us with more food for thought and enriched the minds of our people.
We will enhance social harmony. We want to harmonize the highly fragmented interests in today's society and provide a social safety net to the vulnerable groups.
We will protect the environment. In terms of economic development, we have achieved what took the West centuries in just decades. We have also paid a higher price. Going forward, we will do a great deal more to protect the environment, so our people will not only have more to spend but also enjoy the blue sky, clear water and fresh air. We want a prosperous and beautiful China at the same time.
5. What are its defining features?
Peace, development and cooperation are the very features that define the Chinese dream.
China was among the first countries that initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China is committed to peaceful development. We want to achieve still greater development in a peaceful environment, and a stronger China will be able to make even bigger contribution to peace in the region and the world at large. We do not believe that war is the best way to resolve differences and disputes. A peaceful and negotiated solution works better and lasts longer. The Chinese dream of peace is already benefiting the world. China has sent over 22,000 peacekeepers to 23 UN peacekeeping missions around the world, more than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council.
China's development has been a success story in the eyes of many in the world. It has lifted over 200 million people out of poverty in the past few decades. China's growing pains also need to be allayed in the course of further and greater development. Though some may doubt that China will continue to grow as fast as it has been in the past 30 years, we are confident that it will keep growing at a reasonably high rate for the decades to come. Continued and deep-going reform and opening up will lend fresh impetus to China's growth. The new industrialization, ICT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization all represent fresh sources of growth for China.
China is already the key driver of the world economy, and a more prosperous China will give it an even stronger boost.
· In the coming five years China's imports will amount to 10 trillion US dollars.
In a world of globalization where technologies have cut the distances and removed the barriers between us, in a world of global challenges where no one could escape unscathed, we have no option other than cooperation. The world we live in, which is not short of differences or disagreements, is in dire need of communication and cooperation. If we work together, we can make our diversity a source of strength rather than a source of strife. We believe we cannot deliver on the Chinese dream without cooperation among ourselves or cooperation with other friends and partners the world over.
Ⅲ. The Chinese Dream and China-Cyprus relations
China plays an important and responsible role on the world stage with its fast-growing economy. As trends towards a multi-polar world, economic globalization and an information society gain momentum, countries in the global village are becoming more interconnected and interdependent. The destinies of China and the world have never been as intertwined as they are today. Every nation, every people has a dream of the future. The Chinese have the Chinese Dream, and the Cypriots Cypriot Dream. Though we may dream in different languages, I am sure our Dreams overlap on building stronger ties between two ancient countries.
Both China and Cyprus have a long history. So does our friendship. The political relations between China and Cyprus enjoys a solid foundation and has shown good momentum since our two countries established diplomatic relations in the 1970s. We always support each other on the issues concerning our respective core interests. "One China, One Cyprus" is our shared catchword. And our relationship sets a good example of genuine friendship and cooperation between countries different in size.
There is strong economic complementarity between our two economies. The potentials are huge for broader, deeper and more fruitful cooperation. We are exploring possibilities of cooperation in energy, infrastructure, financial services and maritime shipping. Currently, the number of Chinese citizens who come to Cyprus for investment, study and tourism is increasing and our two countries are faced with new opportunities for cooperation in trade, education and tourism.
In the world economic landscape, one crisis had hardly subsided when another raised its head. The global economy is now plagued by sluggish growth, shrinking demand and rising unemployment. Cyprus is hit hard by the economic storm here and China is not immune to the negative implications. The Chinese are highly sympathetic with the Cypriot people. We fully recognize the difficulties and special circumstances of Cyprus at this trying time. In this context, confidence is more important than gold and it is all the more important to strengthen our bilateral ties and cooperation.
We have every confidence that the Cypriot people will brave the storm and overcome the difficulties as you have again and again proven your perseverance and your resilience. You have proven in the past and you will prove again that you are a nation that is bold enough to dream and good enough to deliver. We wish you every success and we will support you every step of the way.
Friendship between people is key to the sound relations between states. We need more and more young people like you to get to know each other, make friends and carry forward our longstanding friendship.
The Chinese Embassy is devoted to promoting bilateral exchanges and exploring cooperation opportunities. It is my belief that through the joint efforts of both sides and the relations between China and Cyprus will continue to grow from strength to strength to the benefit of both countries and our peoples.
People of my age may be in a position to comment on what China and the world look like today, but the younger generation represented by some of you here are certainly in a better position to give answers to what China and the world will be like in the decades to come. Despite the daunting challenges here and there, we are confident that as long as we dare to dream the boldest dreams, as long as we are ready to make the hardest efforts, we will make it and prevail and the lives and dreams of our children will be even sweeter.